A former high school teacher who is under investigation by the Ontario College of Teachers (OCT) for her comments opposing the promotion of critical race theory in schools says she’s determined to pursue her case until it’s resolved fairly.
“I’m going to fight this until the end,” Chanel Pfahl told The Epoch Times. “The more they come at me in an unfair way, the more I feel that it’s important for me to stand my ground."
“I just said that we should not be indoctrinating kids. We shouldn’t bring this critical race theory stuff in,” the science teacher said. “I pointed out that in certain places in the world right now, like in Britain, it is actually illegal to teach these ideas without offering a balanced opposing view.”
The video Pfahl posted was of British Conservative MP Kemi Badenoch rising in Parliament in October 2020 during the BLM protests to condemn critical race theory (CRT) in schools and assert that the Tory government "stands unequivocally against critical race theory."
Pfahl said her intention to share her perspective was not welcomed by some in the group. Within minutes after her posts, she received backlash from at least 10 teachers, with some comments accusing her of upholding “white supremacy.”
“I didn’t think there was anything controversial though in what I said. I actually was looking forward to having a good conversation, engaging with some of these teachers,” she said.
“You would expect teachers to be the type of people that are open-minded and that are able to engage with these other views.”
A formal complaint was immediately lodged against Pfahl that led to a month-long investigation by the MonAvenir Catholic School Board. In March 2021, she was suspended for a week without pay. She is currently appealing that ruling through her union, but her arbitration date is not until May 2023, she said.
On March 15, she was informed by the OCT that they too had begun an investigation after the same complainant, who is a teacher, escalated the complaint to the college. Pfahl, who quit her position in August 2021, said her teaching licence is at stake.
The OCT said it could not provide details about Pfahl’s case.
“By law, we are unable to comment on any individual cases nor can we confirm whether any investigation is ongoing,” said spokesperson Andrew Fifield in a statement emailed to The Epoch Times on May 16.
“Matters related to professional misconduct are guided by the Ontario College of Teachers Act.”
Adverse Effects of CRTPfahl said the teaching of CRT has an adverse effect on children’s well-being and the way they view society.
“Students who learn CRT start to see the world in a way that’s very cynical, in a way that’s very negative for their own resiliency and sense of empowerment in the world,” she said.
“Regardless of whether the child is white, black, or somewhere in between, or whatever, what they learn is that society is built in this way that's fundamentally unfair.”
Pfahl added that CRT has the effect of disempowering black children and filling white children with guilt.
“Black kids are taught that they’re oppressed and unless they really change society and become activists, they will always be victims and will have a hard time getting far in life because everything in the world is set out against them,” she said.
“White kids learn to feel guilty for something they didn’t do, something their parents didn’t do, and their grandparents probably didn’t do it either—it’s guilt based on assumptions about your ancestors, due to the colour of your skin.”
In an article she wrote in April, Pfahl argued that although the United States, and Canada to a lesser extent, have a history of racism that cannot be denied, CRT’s approach to “achieving social justice” is done in a “flawed, counterintuitive way” that rejects “common humanity.”
“[Common humanity is] the very approach that has allowed us to overcome racist attitudes and race-based discrimination in the West to the degree that we have.”
Pfahl said the reason schools are eager to push the CRT curriculum is that on the surface it seems like a worthy endeavour.
“This progressive ideology that’s taking over is just covered in such pretty language—the ideas seem compassionate, noble, and exciting,” she said in the interview.
“It makes people feel like they’re leading the charge on this new civil rights movement, and nothing could be further from the truth.”
Pfahl stressed that it is crucial for teachers to stay impartial and teach their subjects without pushing political ideology in the classroom.
“I think we’ve lost touch with the fact that education is no longer education if it’s politically motivated,” she said.